University of Vermont

A Note from Staff Council President Renee Berteau

October 2015

We have been blessed to have Fall arrive so gently on our University this year exemplified during Staff Appreciation Week which provided beautiful weather for the Social on the Green as well as the other events to celebrate staff, especially those achieving their milestone anniversary in recognition for years of service to UVM.  I hope that each one of our staff community felt the respect and appreciation this University holds for you and your contributions.

There are two main topics I wish to share with you in my letter this month.  One is about transitions and the other is about important, determined work done by Staff Council to benefit staff.

Transitions in the Staff Council Office

First, Jeff Bukowski, our Staff Council Administrator, will be leaving UVM to start a new adventure as the Assistant Dean, School of Arts, Science, and Business at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  His last day at UVM is October 30. Staff Council grew so much as an organization and in standing at UVM under Jeff’s guidance.  We are sad to see Jeff go, but excited for the opportunity his new role provides for his own personal and professional growth. We know he will do great things.

With this transition comes the search to identify an individual to serve as the next Administrator for Staff Council. The position has already been posted here on the www.uvmjobs.com website through Posting Number S452PO or Position Number 001727. This is an internal search open only to current UVM employees and as a result we want to encourage our current UVM staff to consider applying for this wonderful opportunity. 

The Administrator serves a unique role as a leader within the Staff Council and an advocate for staff at UVM. This position requires strong communication skills, diplomacy, emotional intelligence, flexibility, creativity, a collaborative spirit, and a strong commitment to social justice, diversity and inclusion.

Staff Council Outreach Effort Moves Forward

Second, as many of you know Staff Council undertook a strategic Outreach Effort during spring 2015 to better understand the needs, concerns, and ideas of staff. A final report from this effort was published and sent to our senior leaders which was well received. With the support of President Sullivan and Provost Rosowsky, we have moved forward on the next steps in this effort to collaborate with University partners to address concerns with the hope to have a positive impact on the staff community while strengthening UVM.

In the coming months, I will be using my letters in Staffline - which appear every other month - to provide updates about our work on this project.

Throughout the summer, we worked with Vice President for Executive Operations Gary Derr and Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Wanda Heading-Grant to discuss these objectives in more detail, understand what areas are currently being addressed, and those with whom we should partner to achieve positive outcomes.We have been working diligently to frame these objectives within specific contexts and overarching goals so as to understand how our advocacy work can impact staff experience at the institutional level. For example, one of the objectives highlighted the need to update the Staff Handbook to a more user friendly model and one that staff can have confidence in as a record of benefits and employee responsibilities. We see this objective speaking to concerns around total compensation, but also one around communication that impacts employee satisfaction as well as institutional efficiency and effectiveness. By identifying the context and building partnerships with departments, organizations, and leaders who oversee these functions, we can work together at different levels within the institution to achieve University goals while making a difference for staff.

At this point, our standing committees have been charged with evaluating which of the objectives they can reasonably address this year and timelines are being established to guide their work. In Spring 2016 Staff Council will also complete the third iteration of its biannual staff survey and questions regarding those objectives selected for further investigation will be incorporated.

You can read a more detailed report about the specific objectives and the work that has been done to date here.

I will be sharing this information with the Board of Trustees during the Committee of the Whole on Friday, October 2, 2015.   If you have additional questions or concerns on our Outreach Effort or any other matter, feel free to contact me through Staff.Council@uvm.edu

Respectfully,

Renee A. Berteau